Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 6: the Forest! Well sort of

Day 6: mile 84.5-106.9 (22.4 miles)

Today I felt a little cranky and off all day. I think it was mostly due to too little sleep which just made everything just that much harder and me even crankier. 

The day started with breakfast at the motel, and talking with the people getting ready to leave on today's shuttle which was fun. Thatch had to go to the post office to mail his resupplies and I hate hiking in afternoon heat so I took off. It looks like everyone at the hotel was planning on taking off at some point today so this section might be crowded. 

The trail heads straight down Main St through Lordsburg. 

Then the even more scenic highway 70 for 2 miles. Finally turning off highway 90 and heading cross country. 

This was the start of my trouble. First you slide under the barbed wire, no problem. Then do you see the short dark marker next to the bush on the far right of the sign? Yeah nice and obvious huh. I was about to spend 10 miles in blasting cold wind walking across this nonsense. 

I of course ended up way too far south a mile below the "trail" and found my way back to the route walking under a telephone wire track. Very glamorous. 

See the posts? Yeah I certainly didn't. On the bright side most people I talked to in the afternoon didn't either. 

This faint trail saved my sanity. This mostly took me the last 5 miles of cross country. I guess it was the lighting because whenever you turned around the signs were simple to find. 

And then I turned through a beautiful metal gate that meant no more cross country. The trail became a 2 track 4WD road and I officially entered the Gila National Forest. So far it's been all BLM land. It was awesome. The road started climbing and trees were regularly all around. 

Then it was time to play goldilocks with my water sources. Stealthily trying to find water while the cows were away. 

Not too hot or too cold, just not there. 

Way too tricky to get, plus empty too...

And finally just right! There was a pipe dripping into the actual tank so I didn't have to drink cow snot or anything. Plus Hot Springs and Rafiki were there so I killed a fun few hours. Rafiki left but Banana Pants arrived so the hours passed surprisingly quickly. I had been in a great mood since starting the road walk and the long break helped. I had been so frazzled earlier in the day I didn't take any real breaks. 

After leaving Engineer Windmill I officially passed the 100 mile mark. Woohoo, someone even drew this in the dirt. 

It was actually starting to feel a little more like mountains, those roads actually do a fair bit of climbing and it was really fun. 

Then just 3 miles later was Co-op windmill. The nicest one yet! It's funny everyone I've seen today is intentionally hiking solo but likes to be social at campsites and water sources. So you get the freedom during the day but still get to interact with hikers. 

More rolling hills and some climbs and then the most magical thing, official trail. Not roads, or signpost to signpost or weird rock posts but 100 miles + into this thing genuine trail! Steep as all heck but awesome. 

I hiked another hour or so and my foot started hurting for the first time on the whole trip and I started to get all fatalistic thinking this is the end of my hike (dramatic aren't I). I dragged myself a little farther until I found a campsite and tried stretching my foot and calves. Mostly just moping around. And then magically Thatch showed up and he was ridiculously happy, he'd had a great day. So instead of getting bogged down and just going I'm going to make sure I take breaks tomorrow and go a bit slower. We'll see 

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